A Sublinear Time Tester for Max-Cut on Clusterable Graphs

Authors Agastya Vibhuti Jha, Akash Kumar

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Agastya Vibhuti Jha
  • École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Akash Kumar
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India


We sincerely thank Michael Kapralov for insightful discussions at the beginning of the project. We also would like to thank Kshiteej Sheth and Weronika Wrozs-Kominska for being helping us bounce off ideas.

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Agastya Vibhuti Jha and Akash Kumar. A Sublinear Time Tester for Max-Cut on Clusterable Graphs. In 51st International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2024). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 297, pp. 91:1-91:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)


One natural question in the area of sublinear time algorithms asks whether we can distinguish between graphs with max-cut value at least 1-ε from graphs with max-cut value at most 1/2+ε in the adjacency list model where we can make degree queries and neighbor queries. Chiplunkar, Kapralov, Khanna, Mousavifar, and Peres (FOCS' 18) showed that in graphs of bounded degree, one cannot hope for a factor 1/2+ε approximation to the max-cut value in time n^{1/2+o(ε)}. Recently, Peng and Yoshida (SODA '23) obtained o(n) time algorithms which can distinguish expanders with max-cut value at least 1-ε from expanders with small max-cut value (their running time is n^{1/2+O(ε)}). In this paper, going beyond the results of Peng-Yoshida, we develop sublinear time algorithms for this problem on clusterable graphs (which is a graph class with a good community structure). Our algorithms run in ≈ n^{0.5001+ O(ε)} time. A natural extension of Peng-Yoshida approach does not seem to work for clusterable graphs. Indeed, their random walk based technique tracks the 𝓁₂ length of random walk vectors and they exploit the difference in the length of these vectors to tell apart expanders with large cut value from expanders with small cut-value. Such approaches fail to be reliable when graph has loosely connected clusters. Taking inspiration from [Ashish Chiplunkar et al., 2018], we exploit the more refined geometry of spectra of clusterable graphs which leads to our sublinear time implementation. We prove a novel spectral lemma which shows that in a spectral expander 2 - λ_{n-1} ≥ Ω(λ₂). This lemma is leveraged to show that there is a suitable difference between spectra of clusterable graphs with large cut value and spectra of clusterable graphs with small cut value. We use this gap to obtain our sublinear time implementation. To do this, we obtain a nuanced understanding of the eigenvector structure of clusterable graphs and in particular, we show that the eigenvectors of the normalized Laplacian of a clusterable graph, corresponding to eigenvalues which are close to 2 have a small infinity norm.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Streaming, sublinear and near linear time algorithms
  • Mathematics of computing → Spectra of graphs
  • Sublinear Algorithms
  • Graph Algorithms
  • Clusterable Graphs
  • Property Testung


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